Danielle Bean, a wife and mother of eight, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine and author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Read more of her blogging at Faith & Family Live and DanielleBean.com.
It’s really nice when someone finally attempts to correct a gross misunderstanding.
I positively beamed all over after reading Charlie Richards’ account of his recent meeting with the famously super-sized Duggar family.
After doing a bit of researching and reading on the internet (Don’t do that! It’s bad for your soul to read the comboxes on a Duggar article from any mainstream news source!) Richards was prepared to meet Duggar children who were mindless robots held prisoner in their own home.
He was pleasantly surprised, though, to find that the Duggar children were well-adjusted and—here’s the real shocker—pretty much normal kids. In fact, he thinks they might even be more “normal” than typical American kids raised in smaller families and attending public schools.
My wife and I spent considerable time talking to the three teenage girls, Jill, Jessa and Jinger. They are sharp, fun and informed. They know what’s going on out there. But it isn’t at all a part of their every day life. And, to the shock and dismay of so many, they’re okay with that.
While, admittedly, I admire the Duggars for much of what they do, I didn’t expect what I saw in these three girls. The world has yet to beat them into submission. They don’t watch the Disney Channel, so they’ve yet to learn that adults are buffoons and parents are embarrassing. They don’t listen to the local rock station, so they’ve yet do discover life is supposed to be one promiscuous event followed by another. They don’t attend public school, so they’ve yet to learn teenage girls are required to be filled with angst and riddled with insecurities.
This observation is an affirmation for all parents who attempt to protect their children from sinister cultural influences to any degree. We don’t all homeschool or outlaw popular music, but many of us do make decisions to curtail the culture’s influence on our kids.
Though I do not often watch the Duggars’ television show, I have written before about how inspiring I find Michelle Duggar’s calm and peaceful approach to motherhood.
I appreciate Charlie Richard’s honest account of his experience with the Duggar family. I don’t think his defense of the Duggars will make a bit of difference to those who are prejudiced against them for their religion, their values, and their family size, but his positive words are encouraging and affirming for those of us leading somewhat less extraordinary but still counter-cultural family lives.
As a mom of eight who does a fair amount of “sheltering” her own children on any given day, I am encouraged to know that I might be getting some things right. That with God’s grace, my kids’ “abnormal” upbringing might just afford them the kind of freedom they need to be truly “normal” and to be truly themselves in the end.
(cross-posted at The Anchoress)